Tamaraw Resurgence? FEU Reintroduces Themselves With Preseason Strides

The FEU Tamaraws’ FilOil EcoOil Preseason podium might be a sign of good things to come for the Morayta faithful. 

In the lead-up to the FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup, one might have excluded the FEU Tamaraws from preseason discourses. UP and La Salle aside, squads like NU and UST snagged top recruits, alongside the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ continued rebuild. 

Yet once it was all said and done, it was the Tamaraws who got the last laugh over the Sampaloc pairing and Ateneo. Despite fielding a young roster, it was the Morayta-based cagers standing on the FilOil podium after surviving equally resurgent Letran.

Just like that, momentum is now on the young FEU Tamaraws’ side, which also features all-time PBA great Sean Chambers as head coach. 

“As I told the guys back when I first started, every time we step on the court, we’re looking to win. We’re looking to be successful. Nothing is taken for granted. So, even to take third place, that’s huge for us. That’s big,” Chambers said after his Tamaraws copped the FilOil bronze on Wednesday.  

And while his Tams have ways to go in terms of trusting the offense and “valuing the basketball” among others, Chambers sang praises for his young squad. 

In fact, he proudly said that FEU might have their own “Fab Five”, or even a “Magnificent Six or Seven” heading into UAAP Season 87. First was rookie Veejay Pre, who’s an “absolute star” and will have “a long career playing basketball”. 

“Like, he’s such a great guy. He works…One of the hardest guys in practice every day. He’s focused on everything. You know, it’s the Filipino way. It’s always yes coach, yes coach, yes coach,” Chambers said. 

The rookie coach also praised vets Jorick Bautista and Royce Alforque. Alforque in particular, received praise for “his work ethic, his determination”, as well as “invaluable” senior leadership for these young Tamaraws.

Chambers also mentioned Fil-Am recruits such as Adam Nakaya, Gilas Youth stalwart Jayden Jones, and Nicholas Dunque who are yet to suit up for the FEU Tamaraws. Per Chambers, all these recruits will be in the running for a roster spot next season. 

“Janrey [Pasaol], who didn’t play today, has been great. Jedrick [Daa] has been great. So I know we’re playing a lot of young guys, but this talent level is amazing,” said Chambers.

On a personal note, Chambers feels “blessed and honored” to be within the FEU camp, aside from seeing UAAP-level competition and points for improvement through the FilOil tilt. 

But in jest, he also acknowledged his own learning curve toward Philippine basketball rules, such as “signing” timeouts, and when substitute players can come in during the game.

“And there’s a lot of different rules that I’m still learning as we go along here. So this is part of my learning curve as well. So with that said, I believe it’s only one way to continue to go up.”

Like most universities, up next for the FEU Tamaraws are out-of-town training sessions. But if Chambers would have it, he’d rather “keep it within the country” in places like Cebu. 

“I want to stay in the country because basically, we’re in a place where we just have to make each other better,” said Chambers. 

“We have five Fil-Ams coming in so they’ve got to integrate to what we do. I want to make sure that they truly understand and respect the country and the culture and everything that happens here.” 

Banner Image from FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup Media Team.

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